Microsoft expected to update its full suite of built-in Windows 8 apps

Microsoft expected to update its full suite of built-in Windows 8 apps

Summary: Microsoft appears ready to roll out the set of expected updates to its full set of core, Microsoft-developed Windows 8 applications, as rumored earlier this month.


It looks like Microsoft is poised to update almost all of its core Microsoft-developed apps that shipped with Windows 8.


At the start of this month, I posted that Microsoft was expected to provide updates to everything, from Windows Mail to Xbox Music, some time in March.

On March 22, Windows SuperSite editor Paul Thurrott discovered a stack of updates that are "installation ready" for Windows 8. These include:

  • Microsoft.BingTravel
  • Microsoft.Camera
  • Microsoft.Bing
  • Microsoft.Reader
  • Microsoft.BingNews
  • microsoft.windowsphotos (Photos)
  • Microsoft.BingFinance
  • microsoft.microsoftskydrive
  • Microsoft.XboxLIVEGames
  • Microsoft.ZuneVideo
  • Microsoft.BingWeather
  • Microsoft.ZuneMusic (Xbox Music)
  • microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps (Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging)
  • Microsoft.BingMaps
  • Microsoft.BingSports

My original tipster said these apps would also be updated and made available for Windows RT this month. I've tried to find mention of pending updates on my Surface RT and so far cannot. (Wondering if anyone out there with a Windows RT device can see these. Chime in if so.)

Update: It appears this same batch of updates is also coming to Windows RT. Brad Pelletier (@bardo77n) just sent me this screen shot from his Surface RT:


I asked Microsoft again today for comment on when/if these major updates are going to be rolled out. I got a fresh, new "no comment."

Microsoft officials have acknowledged publicly that the Windows team is aware that the first-party apps on Windows 8 and Windows RT have room for improvement. Many users have been especially disappointed in the Mail and Music apps for the product, claiming they feel more like betas than full, featured, polished products. Even though they're free, many of us Windows 8/Windows RT users feel that these apps, developed by the Windows team, just aren't very good. (The Windows 8/Windows RT apps built by the Bing AppEx team, on the other hand, have been quite solid and usable.)

Microsoft is expected to deliver another set of major updates to all its core apps when it rolls out the Blue update for Windows 8 and Windows RT late this summer.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft Surface


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • update

    Oh god for all that is holy please update Xbox Music. That piece of garbage should have been update on a monthly basis (AT LEAST) up until now.
    • Windows photos

      The photo app on the Surface RT is one of the worst there is. In fact, it's even worse than the Xbox music apps and that says a lot. How can it be possible that Thumbnails needs to be regenerated each time you access a picture collection. It takes a lot of time and it makes the app not fluid at all. Even my BlackBerry Tablet is 1 zillion time faster.

      Hey MS, it should be very simple. Generate a small thumbnail for every picture in a gallery. Do it ounce and if nothing changes in the gallery, leave the thumbnail as is. It makes the surface feel bad for photos and even the third party's app suffers from the same issues. The problem is OS related and it needs to be fixed.

      Otherwise, the Surface RT is very good
      • Those APIs are so new

        ... even the Windows team didn't know how to use them. Typical 1.0 syndrome.
        • Why didn't they just bloody use .NET?

          They would have had double the number of apps if they had just left well enough alone. They could simply have insisted on asynch design, rather than restyle the entire API!
          • Because .NET has a bunch of design deficiencies and security holes

            That are almost impossible to fix. Got it? Good.
          • Not so fast

            .Net was full blown wrapper around Win32 and COM which is not necessary for RT, which is why they settle for a much lighter WinRT.
        • Look at the syslog in the Photo

          There are a few errors and warnings that need addressing.
          Alan Smithie
          • uh, hello?

            It's Microsoft! Those pictures are fake! Just like the videos they submitted during their court trial.

            Microsoft: Artists in misleading everyone and no clue how to use that strength to build their brand offerings.
            The Danger is Microsoft
        • price per app

          This 1.0 release was one of the worst ever. It's a $200 OS that doesn't have the games that Vista/7 had, had an entire undercooked platform, and didn't fix any of the fundamental issues, like the notification area, the clumsy taskbar knockoff of OSX or the disorganized control panel - which got worse since have the settings are in touch and half aren't, even on the RT devices.
          • Price per app

            You can go to the Store and get games, many of which are free. In fact, one of my favorites is Wordament, an XBOX game, and it is free.
      • RT

        Except for all the built in applications that are available for it, which are garbage, RT is very good!

        RT should be put down like the lame hours it is. It is a distraction from W8, which is where the real action is. It confuses unknowledgeable buyers and then disappoints them, which causes them to spread bad PR about W8 in general.

        I would consider RT to be a debacle.
        x I'm tc
        • *horse

          not hours.
          x I'm tc
        • It may confuse you

          but putting on your shoes would probably confuse you.
          • Eh?

            What might confuse me? RT? No, I get it.

            I have Windows 8 on all three of my PCs now (laptop, desktop, touchscreen ultrabook). On the touchscreen device, the touch adds a little something...not much, but not negligible, either.

            As a W8 user I have everything RT users do and then some. However, if I had to spend my time in only the RT part of Windows 8, with nothing but a broken (No macros! No Outlook!) desktop Office experience to tide me over, I would be very frustrated, indeed.
            x I'm tc
          • yep. And maybe move to an iPad!

            Microsoft : Their own worst enemy.
            The Danger is Microsoft
        • What is it about RT?

          That makes people hold a grudge? It's Microsoft's ARM OS and shows how brilliant they were to give people a real feeling OS instead of a mobile one, unlike Android or iOS. People shouldn't expect to run full Windows apps on a light tablet. The vendors should just say "this one is like an iPad, and that one is like your laptop".

          Is it really so bard to compare RT with Android? Would people expect Android tablets to run Windows apps? Why not? It's a tablet OS, dammit!

          So what would you expect MS to release for ARM based tablets? Just ignore the market? Or create an entirely new OS that has nothing to do with Windows and start from scratch?
          Ehsan Irani
          • What is it about RT? That makes people hold a grudge?

            It sucks. How do you not get that?
          • You got it!

            ' a real feeling OS' - Microsoft is the champ at 'fake'.
            The Danger is Microsoft
    • I have already installed it

      As it is mentioned in the event viewer, you need to change the account to Local Administrator and then go to Market app. It will then install 15 available updates.

      Since I have not been using metro apps, I am not sure what changes have happened.

      I needed to change one of the local security policies in order to run the metro apps under admin account though.
      • Probably not

        If you switched to a different user, you got some updates but not these. Modern UI apps are profile dependent and, when you log in as a new user, you'll get the original versions that were installed with the base installation of Windows. The core apps have been updated since then, so you received the updates that were released months ago.